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2013-06-10 2:58 PM

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Subject: Any open water swimming areas around Grand Rapids
Just moved from Chicago to Grand Rapids and I'm looking for a good spot for some long open water swims. I've been looking at park webpages, like Millennium Park, but they all have roped off swimming areas. Does anybody know if they are strict about that? If I wear a bright cap and ask the lifeguard real nicely, do you think they'll let me criss cross the lake? If anybody has any experience there or if you have another spot to swim, I'd love to hear about it.
Thanks!!!


2013-06-11 10:18 AM
in reply to: jjzeilstra

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Subject: RE: Any open water swimming areas around Grand Rapids
Millennium Park is a no go. They are way too strict there. You could try and swim at the buoy line but it tends to be pretty shallow and busy.

Couple good options for you depending on where you are.

8th Avenue Park. Off of Chicago Dr in Jenison (http://www.georgetown-mi.gov/parks/8th.html). Technically it is a couple bucks to get in for non-residents but if you get there early enough the guard shack is unmanned and the gate is opened. Or you could walk/bike in for free. One loop of the perimeter is just under a mile. Or you can swim a diagonal and back for about 2/3 mile. No motorized boats. Kayaks and canoes allowed.

Campbell Lake (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=campbell+lake,+caledonia,+mi&hl=en&sll=44.230933,-85.300598&sspn=0.39754,0.866547&hnear=Campbell+Lake&t=m&z=16&iwloc=A)
Totally free. Almost exactly 400yards if you swim straight across from the boat launch to the floating dock w/ a slide. A little seaweedy right at the boat launch, but nice and clear once you get past that. Great place to do interval/race pace work. Very few boats because it is a small lake. Usually only a fishing boat or two out there.

Bostwick Lake (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=bostwick+lake+inn&ll=43.084499,-85.457475&spn=0.012663,0.02708&hq=bostwick+lake+inn&hnear=Grand+Rapids,+Michigan&t=m&z=16&iwloc=A)
There is public access just down the road from the Bostwick Lake Inn. Park along the road and down the stairs to the lake. If you do the entire perimeter of the lake it is almost exactly 2.4mi. Otherwise just stick to the perimeter and turn around at some point. The middle of the lake can be a bit busier but the perimeter is shallow enough that the boats stay away. Bring a change of clothes and have some dinner or drinks at the Inn afterwards. Or, do a swim/bike brick workout and tackle the hills on Egypt Valley road before or after your swim.

2013-06-11 4:14 PM
in reply to: kevinneumann

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Subject: RE: Any open water swimming areas around Grand Rapids
Originally posted by kevinneumann

Millennium Park is a no go. They are way too strict there. You could try and swim at the buoy line but it tends to be pretty shallow and busy.

Couple good options for you depending on where you are.

8th Avenue Park. Off of Chicago Dr in Jenison (http://www.georgetown-mi.gov/parks/8th.html). Technically it is a couple bucks to get in for non-residents but if you get there early enough the guard shack is unmanned and the gate is opened. Or you could walk/bike in for free. One loop of the perimeter is just under a mile. Or you can swim a diagonal and back for about 2/3 mile. No motorized boats. Kayaks and canoes allowed.

Campbell Lake (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=campbell+lake,+caledonia,+mi&hl=en&sll=44.230933,-85.300598&sspn=0.39754,0.866547&hnear=Campbell+Lake&t=m&z=16&iwloc=A)
Totally free. Almost exactly 400yards if you swim straight across from the boat launch to the floating dock w/ a slide. A little seaweedy right at the boat launch, but nice and clear once you get past that. Great place to do interval/race pace work. Very few boats because it is a small lake. Usually only a fishing boat or two out there.

Bostwick Lake (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=bostwick+lake+inn&ll=43.084499,-85.457475&spn=0.012663,0.02708&hq=bostwick+lake+inn&hnear=Grand+Rapids,+Michigan&t=m&z=16&iwloc=A)
There is public access just down the road from the Bostwick Lake Inn. Park along the road and down the stairs to the lake. If you do the entire perimeter of the lake it is almost exactly 2.4mi. Otherwise just stick to the perimeter and turn around at some point. The middle of the lake can be a bit busier but the perimeter is shallow enough that the boats stay away. Bring a change of clothes and have some dinner or drinks at the Inn afterwards. Or, do a swim/bike brick workout and tackle the hills on Egypt Valley road before or after your swim.


Kevin hit all of the good ones that I know of, honestly. The other option is to head out to Holland or Grand Haven to Lake Michigan, but the water tends to be fairly cold at this point. Should be warming up quickly, and then generally turns over in mid July and goes cold again. 2 days before the Grand Haven triathlon last year it was close to being a non-wetsuit legal race, and by race morning, it was low-mid 60s.
2013-06-12 8:26 AM
in reply to: MSU_Brad

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Subject: RE: Any open water swimming areas around Grand Rapids
Thanks guys! Now I just have to get out there.
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